New cash to set up mental health wellbeing centre

Mental Health. Pictured: A woman is consoled by her friend. Time to change/Newscast Online

Mental Health. Pictured: A woman is consoled by her friend. Time to change/Newscast Online - Credit: Time to change/Newscast Online

More than half a million pounds of funding has been handed to health bosses in Norfolk and Waveney to help launch a city centre hub for those in mental health crisis.

Some £558,000 has been secured from the government which will help provide a hub in Norwich, where people can go to access support.

It has not yet been revealed where the hub would be, but it was previously reported that during the day a cafe would be open to the public alongside offering support for a range of mental health problems.

In the evening it would provide practical and emotional support, which could be used as an alternative to admission to hospital if appropriate. The evening hub would work closely with 111, police, ambulance and A&E.

It was also envisaged professional support services from the public and voluntary sector would be based there, potentially including the mental health phone support line, the crisis resolution home team and adult social workers.

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MORE: First glimpse at plans for crisis hubs aimed at tackling mental health bed shortageIn other areas of the country, similar hubs have helped people return to better mental health and reduced the number of people who have needed specialist mental health treatment or hospital treatment.

Dr Tony Palframan, who leads on mental health for South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: 'We are delighted to hear this news. Service users and members of the public told us during a public engagement exercise that they wanted this hub, to increase our support for people with mental health issues.'

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Independent chair of the region's sustainability and transformation partnership (STP), Patricia Hewitt, said: 'The Wellbeing Hub we are all planning together is designed to help people manage their mental health conditions. They want to remain well so that their illness does not escalate into a crisis. We want that for them too, which this is very good news indeed.'

Papers released ahead of the region's mental health trust's board meeting on Thursday said the plan was for the hub to open in April next year.

But a 'lower-level crisis hub' was planned for next month.

The funding announcement was made as part of £760m of capital funding awarded by the Department for Health and Social Care.

Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, said: 'I'm pleased to see this investment into our mental health services. I know many people in Norwich will really welcome it. Along with £1m for our A&E, and more medical students being trained at UEA, this is a series of investments and it shows the Conservatives are supporting the NHS and the patients who need the help.'

But for Norwich South MP, Labour's Clive Lewis, the investment was not enough. He said: 'Mental health services are being bled to death and this paltry announcement today hardly amounts to a sticking plaster on the wounds this government has inflicted on our local NHS.'

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